Derrick and Amy Ross were to have performed at Patagonia’s Fall Arts Festival last month. Known to their many fans as “Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl,” the caption under their promotional photo said they “have a simple musical proposition: Her piano and voice, his acoustic guitar, a love of lifeʼs little details, and a sense of humor.”

They were a couple of western wanderers and, after 13 years of marriage, still very much in love. Bisbee was their current home, but they had a network of friends and fans in Patagonia. Amy suffered from lupus, an insidious disease of the immune system. On Monday, October 14, she died of a blood infection caused by lupus-related, on-going dialysis. Derrick took his own life shortly afterwards.

I barely knew them. My path crossed a few times over the years with Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl (aka Derrick and Amy Ross.) I was told she was from a small town in Wyoming. Him, I’m not so sure.

The first time I met them was at a KPUP party several years ago. They graciously played for a reduced rate for a small crowd of enthusiastic radio fans. It was a perfect night and they played beautifully. I ran into them at various places throughout the years. Once I saw them in their hometown in Bisbee where they seemed to fit that Bisbee flair. Another time they played in Tucson on Fourth Avenue to a standing-room-only crowd.

The one thing that struck me every single time was how they looked at each other when they played. They were so very much in love. It was if the entire crowd was invisible as she sang to him and he in turn would keep rhythm to her voice.

The news of their tragic deaths hit both Zach and me in the heart for obvious reasons. I cried a little when I thought about Don Simmons waiting for her there at the fall festival holding a hat he had saved for her. They were scheduled to play and never showed up. I watched a video of one of their songs in which they hold each other and dance. How could this happen? How can this kind of love end?

When I learned how Nowhere Man couldn’t live without his Whiskey Girl I wondered how I would have dealt with such sorrow. I hope I never know. I think I’m one of the lucky ones, someone who knows that kind of love. I have someone to sing to and in turn I have someone who can keep rhythm with my songs.

I barely knew Amy and Derrick Ross but what I did know was wonderful. On Amy’s Facebook page their last message to everyone was this- “Enjoy every sandwich. We love and miss you all. Go be nice to someone for us.” Maybe we should all strive for a Nowhere Man and Whiskey Girl kind of love. Goodbye from Patagonia. We will always have KPUP.